There’s a deep, blue pool and a rope swing hangs over it. You can picture it in your mind. You can almost feel the cool relief of the clear water, as you and your best friend follow the overgrown trail, the tall grasses dry and bleached in the beating sun.
You’re hot. Uncomfortably, disgustingly hot. Sweat drips down the back of your shorts. Your drenched t-shirt clings. Your toes squelch in your shoes.
It’s an essential ritual of summer, this hike to the water. Maybe it’s a rock quarry or a high-altitude lake or a pond you pass by every day. Summer transforms them into magical escapes.
You head out to the trail with the annoying climb because there’s a perfect swimming spot on the way home. You travel three miles out of your way because there’s a hidden pond laying in wait in the trees. It becomes an all-consuming quest — always to be swimming, that’s all you want.
Your shoes send up dragon puffs of dust as you walk. You’re tired of the sun and the heat and the walking, but you’re tantalizingly close now. You glimpse the glimmering blue through the trees and imagine the fresh caress of the water on your skin.